The Alexander Archipelago is a three-hundred-mile-long archipelago, or group of islands, off the southeastern coast of Alaska. It contains about 1,100 islands, which are the tops of the submerged coastal mountains that rise steeply from the Pacific Ocean. Deep channels and fjords separate the islands and cut them off from the mainland. The northern part of the Inside Passage is sheltered by the islands as it winds its way among them.
The largest islands are Chichagof Island, Admiralty Island, Baranof Island, Wrangell Island, Revillagigedo Island, Kupreanof Island, Dall Island and Prince of Wales Island. All the islands are rugged, densely forested, and have an abundance of wildlife.
The Tlingit and Kaigani Haida people are native to the area. The Tsimshian people found on Annette Island are not originally from the area, having immigrated to the region from British Columbia in the late 19th century.
Ketchikan on Revillagigedo Island and Sitka on Baranof Island are the largest towns on the islands. The largest town of the region, Juneau, is actually on the mainland and hence not part of the archipelago.
Tourism, fishing, and logging are the main industries of the islands.
The archipelago was visited by the Russians in 1741 and was later explored by Britain, Spain, and the United States. Control of the islands passed from Russia to the United States with the Alaska Purchase in 1867.
According to Donald Orth's Dictionary of Alaska Place Names (p.64), the Alexander Archipelago received its name from the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey in 1867. The island chain is named for Tsar Alexander of Russia.
On an 1860 map of Russian America (Alaska), the island group is called the King George III Archipelago.